You may think that it's normal for your dog to have smelly breath, but actual bad breath is a sign that your dog has a health problem. Like people, bad breath can be horrendous and usually has an underlying cause. Once you address that cause, your dog's breath should be a lot less stinky. Here are some of the most common reasons why dogs get bad breath and what you can do to stop or minimize the problem.
Common Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs
All sources of bad breath have a cause, but that cause is not always apparent. Here are some of the most common reasons for bad breath in dogs.
Their Dog Food
Like humans, some ingredients and seasonings affect some dogs more than others. Some types of food cause stomach problems that also manifest themselves as bad breath. Try different types of food to see if your dog's breath smells different.
Secondary Digestive Organ Disease
Any time your dog has a disease or injury to a secondary digestive organ, such as the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder, then he or she may suffer from bad breath. For example, dogs with diabetes often have a sweetness to their breath. Dogs with extremely bad breath (the kind you can smell before you see your dog) may have liver issues.
Bad Oral Hygiene
Bad oral hygiene is a major cause of bad breath. This is especially true if your dog has never had his or her teeth brushed or has severe tooth decay. Oral tumors are also a significant cause of bad breath. When you don't take care of your dog's teeth, a buildup of bacteria can give off a foul odor.
Tips on Keeping Your Dog's Breath Fresh
If changing your dog's food doesn't do anything, and an examination doesn't reveal any other underlying health issue, then your best bet is to focus on your dog's mouth. Brush your dog's teeth frequently with a dog-safe toothpaste with a dog-friendly flavor. You may have to be patient with your dog until he or she gets accustomed to this procedure. Your veterinarian may also do a deep cleaning and dental checkup to rule out tooth decay.
You don't have to put up with your dog's bad breath, nor should you ignore it. Bad breath is a sign that something isn't right. If you've tried some simple things to solve the problem, and your dog's breath is still bad or doesn't smell right, then visit a vet clinic for an examination to check for hidden health problems.